Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964623 | Print ISBN: 9781412936361 | Online ISBN: 9781412964623| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kbonsura A. Wilson
Nkisi (Minikisi is the plural form) is a Kongolese word for sacred medicine and, by extension, any object or material substance invested with sacred energy and made available for spiritual protection and moral use. BaKongolese believe that the god Funza gave the world the first Nkisi. The source for the Nkisi potency is the bakisi , messengers from the spirit world. Minikisi are vessels or sculptures made of ceramic, cloth, wood, or other material. They contain spiritually potent substances to heal and defend against spiritual maladies. The Nganga , the spiritually healer, diviner, and mediator, usually creates them. Africans uprooted from this region, enslaved and dispersed during the Maangamisi (African holocaust) and Mfecane (dispersion), retained knowledge of some form of Nkisi making. In places throughout the United States, particularly the Deep South, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Miami, and Florida, African descendants still create Nkisi. Nkisi making is also found throughout the ...